Both parties see field of candidates grow in race to replace Sen. Toomey

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) has indicated that he will not seek another term in Congress, which will leave an open seat at the conclusion of the current term.

This development has prompted a free-for-all as roughly two dozen candidates from across the political spectrum have entered the competition to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate. 

Variety of candidates vie for open Senate seat

The fledgling race has already led to millions in campaign contributions, and that number is likely to increase dramatically as more political action committees — and potentially additional candidates — flow into what is widely seen as a toss-up race with no clear early favorites.

In its recent review of the candidates vying to replace Toomey, WHYY noted that Democrats and Republicans alike will find a variety of ideologies represented within their respective parties.

At the top of the Democratic list are progressives including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta along with more moderate options like U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh.

Among Republicans, real estate developer Jeff Bartos — a longtime financial supporter of the party and an establishment favorite — appears to have an early lead. The Republican field of front-runners decreased when Army veteran Sean Parnell, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, dropped out of the race amid a public divorce.

At least two women are expected to be on the GOP side of the ballot: election-reform activist Kathy Barnette and former Trump adviser Carla Sands.

Field of candidates could keep growing

Perhaps the most widely known candidate is TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, a New Jersey resident with ties to Pennsylvania. He entered the race shortly after Parnell’s exit.

Beyond the top-tier, reports point to a number of contenders who could see their political fortunes rise prior to the upcoming election.

Furthermore, other prominent figures could be weighing their options ahead of a possible late entry into the crowded field.

In October, WESA reported that a few candidates had shown an early fundraising advantage. Among Democrats, Fetterman and Lamb had amassed the biggest war chests, and Bartos led all other GOP contenders.

Pennsylvania voters still have a few months before they begin voting in primary elections, but the early evidence suggests there will be a long and hard-fought race to fill this soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.

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